tv United Nations 21st Century Moving Out of Poverty Crossing Bridges LINKTV October 20, 2015 12:30pm-1:01pm PDT
a story of solidarity and courage. hello, and welcome to "21st century." i'm daljit dhaliwal. rocked by political and economic insecurity, rural egypt is a hard place to build a good life. but a new approach to combating poverty is bearing fruit. the women of el edwa crowd the streets, selling food to their customers, and in turn, providing a small income for themselves and their families. economic activity in markets like this around
the world often mark a community's strength and vitality. but what happens when resources are scarce? life has never been easy for nadia fawzi. first, living on her husband's meager earnings as a school janitor. and then, after he died from leukemia in 2007, leaving her struggling even more to support herself and her five children. making sure they all went to school has always been a priority, despite its cost.
[clucking] a difficult task on her small income from selling chickens. deep in debt, she knew she had to find a way to boost her small poultry business. but how? nadia lives in upper egypt, one of the poorest regions in the country. located about an hour's drive south of the capital cairo, it's called upper egypt, because it's up river as the nile flows. and has been left behind in terms of development.
but now efforts are underway to change that by raising the community's self sufficiency and helping to build up small businesses like nadia's. the hayat human security project in upper egypt aims to give people a chance to impact policy and to change lives. with support from the united nations' trust fund for human security, the project offers the people of upper egypt help like agriculture training and business development advice. medhat rasheed is a hayat field manager. medhat: the goal of hayat project is to enhance the livelihood of those most vulnerable--and also is to establish, uh, social safe nets for the people out there. daljit: people like the widow and chicken trader nadia. realizing that her business
could never grow if she continued to pluck chickens by hand, she pooled money together with neighbors in a village and savings and loans group, one of the many in the region established by hayat, and bought a plucking machine. a son, who received career advice from the hayat project, helps out with nadia's business, alongside his wife. nadia's plucking machine has eased her workload and also boosted revenue, allowing her to better provide for her family--an example of how small-scale technology is improving lives. savings and loans groups like these provide critical funds, helping thousands of women build businesses and pull themselves out of the most punishing poverty. medhat: starting your own
business, even at this micro level, is one of the livelihood sources that we are trying to advocate for. so if you could find a way to have a secured income, you will have the chance to educate your children, to have your food security, to have your habitat security and many other threats you can face. daljit: in 2010, the arab spring swept across the region, including egypt, toppling presidents and changing regimes. hopes were high that the benefits of the revolution would filter down to local people--like those in upper egypt. but because of the subsequent instability, tourism revenue has shrunk in recent years, as has investment and government jobs. and economic conditions across the country have got even worse, making people's lives even more
unstable. khaled: maybe human security in conflict zones will mean, uh, security from wars or whatever. in egypt actually, human security is very much linked to economic security. daljit: dr. khaled abdelhalim works at the egyptian ministry of local development. khaled: in upper egypt, it's a big struggle to make a living. there is a great lack of investment, which actually, it's not a matter of lack of natural resources or economic opportunities. it's just a matter of cultivating these opportunities. daljit: gamal khalaf also lives in upper egypt, in the village of bartibat.
a respected local leader and father of three. gamal serves on the village human security forum part of the hayat project, one of six new grassroots community groups designed for locals, both men and woman, young and old, to take the lead in their own community's development. daljit: the hayat project aims to empower communities with multiple interventions that support people's human security in the broadest sense-- from jobs, to health and education. gamal's group moved quickly to address the need for blackboards in schools and improved water connections. khaled: it gives people hope that things can change, even in the smaller scale. so it's not all national
planning. it's not all national visioning, but it's also in terms of something practical on the ground. daljit: but like nadia, gamal's own business also needed some help getting off the ground. like most people in rural upper egypt, gamal works the land. but he says, farmers like him face many challenges. as well as cultivating his fields, gamal is a date farmer. today he climbs one of his palm trees to pollinate its flowers, so in the months to come he can harvest its fruit, hundreds of dates. but now there is a new risk to his crop--the invasive red palm weevil, which eats away
at trees from the inside, devastating local date production and eventually killing the trees. about 30% of the palms in the region have been affected, including some of gamal's trees. conventional treatments are time consuming and labor intensive. but after the hayat project introduced gamal to a different and more effective way to fight the weevil, he quickly went to war. boring into the trees and inserting pesticide with this simple hydraulic device, gamal rescued his trees. and gamal doesn't just treat
his own palms. he designed and fabricated three additional machines, which he now hires out to other farmers in need. it's another example of how low-scale technology helps local people overcome problems and lead more secure lives. and date production in the area is once again on the rise. once grown mostly for personal consumption and a modest village trade, the newly formed hayat date company is now capitalizing on this regional treasure, expanding to international markets with improved processing and packaging, and increasing income for all involved. as one of 30 partners in the company, gamal consults with farmers, advising them how to combat the weevil.
and just as his hydraulic device improves production both for individual farmers and the company, nadia fawzy's new kitchen appliance has also given her hope for the future. nadia and her family now lead the community savings group, and she hopes the fortunes of all participants are now starting to change. both she and gamal reflect the shifting attitudes of upper egypt and its embrace of entrepreneurship... a mind set gamal believes will improve not only
the lives of his children, but everyone who lives here. and he hopes, through these advances, that he and his family have a future in these lands. the war in the balkans turned one-time neighbors and friends into enemies. we bring you the story of an ordinary man's courage, crossing racial barriers and armed lines to save lives and help reconciliation.